Monday, March 18, 2013

Things I Know Will Not Happen But I Still Wish Would

- NHK News providing access to even a fraction of its back catalog so that I might determine the exact day when the network's news announcers made the switch from pronouncing the name of the country as "Nihon" in favor of the current, enervating "Nippon."

- Spike reversing his decision to stop writing about his wanderings through down-at-the-heels Japan. (Link)

- Commentators ceasing to worry about how a misunderstanding in between the maritime constabulary forces (I must thank Alessio Patalano for that wonderful locution) of China and Japan could lead to an exchange of gunfire and a military crisis -- and starting to worry instead how the leaderships of China and Japan are using the Senkakus as springboards for their own careers, the needs and interests of their citizens be damned -- i.e., make plain that from the viewpoint of fostering or preserving democracy and prosperity in the region, the prophesied "Senkakus crisis" is already upon us.

- Folks who write up articles and reports about this blessed land doing a little thinking about their sources of anecdotes and comments, along the lines of "if I am talking to a smarter-than-average person about the way his/her society and government work, shouldn't I worry that what I am hearing is not what works but instead how things are supposed to work?"

Call it the yutosei problem, if you need a label for the idea.

Anthropologists have to worry all the time about whether or not what they are hearing from native informants is just a narrative the informant is selling or even worse believes is true.

The antidote is not that difficult to find: just tell the story you heard from Informant #1 to Informant #2, and then ask Informant #2, with the benefit of anonymity if he/she needs it, "OK, now what did Informant #1 get wrong?"

- People reading the new sections of Abe Shinzo's repackaged and expanded Toward a Beautiful Country, now entitled Toward a New Country, in order to get a taste of Abe Shinzo Thought in all its incurious, knee-jerk weirdness and without the filter of his fabulous media management machine he has acquired from Amaterasu-knows-where.

- Commentators about Japan's entering into Trans Pacific Partnership discussions not talking about the recalcitrance of Japanese farmers and starting to talk about the recalcitrance of U.S. light truck manufacturer executives and workers. At least Japanese farmers have the traditional rural environment and culture fig leaves to hide behind.

- Folks making more noise about the role that narratives of national weakness play in driving the countries in the region toward conflict. How is it possible that every single state in the region has a leadership promising greatness through strength and the pressuring of other countries in the region to understand the errors of their past policies and attitudes?

[For those who saw the "in terms of feminine totems of cults of past national weakness, Yokota Megumi is to Japanese political activists as the comfort women are to South Korean political activists" test answer, 100 points. For those who saw "Japan revisionists and Abe Shinzo promise solutions to the abductees problems, Dokdo/Takeshima dispute and the Southern Kuriles/Northern Territories claims because they know that there are no solutions to these issues, only endless opportunities to opine about how Japan must be strong again," 200 points. For those who asked, "How incredibly bad and illegitimate can the Chinese government be that it must beat its breast and swear to reestablish the supposed pre-Opium War borders of the Qing Empire as its own?" -- a seat in the front row.]

Abe Shinzo yesterday crowed about how persons his age (so full of vim!) are now in charge of China and South Korea and how the trio of himself, Xi Jinping and Park Geun-hye can, though vigorous (shikkari to) communication of their respective positions, work for the prosperity and peace of the region (Link - J). How he managed to avoid throwing in an even more nonsensical "and we all three are in no way are caught up fighting dead political battles and the legacies left us by our parents and grandparents" escapes me.

1 comment:

Marcus said...

Could you elaborate on the importance of using Nippon vs. Nihon?

I exclusively use Nihon but that is just because it is easier and has a better ring to it my opinion.